Court Of Appeals Cancels Arguments Over Hofmann Forest Lawsuit

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has cancelled oral arguments Tuesday on a lawsuit trying to stop the sale of the Hofmann Forest.

Dual protests about the issue took place in our state Monday. One group of protesters lined Highway 17 in Onslow County near Jacksonville. The other group gathered on NC State University's campus in Raleigh.

The Save the Hofmann Forest group led the protests and is trying to block the sale of the land in the court system.

NC State has owned the forest for 80 years, but it is under a $150 million contract to a private owner.

The Appeals Court has elected to decide the case on legal briefs submitted by lawyers. A spokesman for the group says they remain optimistic on winning their battle, hoping that a decision is made before NC State closes on the sale.

Protesters are concerned with what will happen to the 80-thousand acres of land if the university goes through with the transfer.

Specifically how the property will be developed is a growing concern on protesters' minds.

Organizer Jessica Hult said the forest's main use is as a sand filter for the groundwater in five surrounding counties.

Hult said when Hurricane Floyd struck in 1999, towns surrounding the forest remained dry while many other areas flooded.

The forest provided a buffer to unaffected areas, according to Hult.

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Close to 50 people in Onslow County protested the sale of a state-owned forest, as simultaneous demonstrations were held at two locations in the state.

Organizer Jessica Hult said protesters were along Highway 17 in Onslow County and in Raleigh Monday in an effort to stop the sale of the Hofmann Forest.

The forest has been owned by NC State University for 80 years, but is under a $150 million sale to a private owner.

Protesters are concerned the land will be converted to cropland or residential and commercial areas.

Opposing people meet at Deppe Park, which is within the forest.

They marched to Highway 17 where cars honked in support, and a few drivers even stopped to join in the effort.

The other protest was at NC State University's Brickyard Plaza in Raleigh.

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